A TikTok user, known as Yvonne Isabelle Ling, has gone viral thanks to her review of her Royal Caribbean cruise to nowhere.
In the two-part TikTok video, titled "Sh** about Royal Caribbean that people don't talk about", she pointed out the seldom-known reality of cruises.
@vonsterbelleThings to note before you book a trip on a cruise to nowhere #travel #cruise #royalcarribean #singapore♬ Spongebob - Dante9k
@vonsterbellePART 2 IS HERE!! You get suntan while waiting for your turn to get into the pool (with mask on) ##travel ##cruise ##royalcarribean ##vacation ##singapore♬ Funny Song - Cavendish Music
What she had to say
Here's what her videos, which have garnered almost a million views in total, covered:
According to Royal Caribbean's health and travel update, all guests must take an Antigen Rapid Test (ART) when boarding at the terminal. The ART at the terminal is part of a set of safety measures that guests must take before they are allowed on the cruise ship.
As required, Ling arrived at the cruise terminal to take her ART, only to find a snaking queue. She claimed that she waited three hours before she could finally get on the cruise.
Ling also claimed that every activity onboard the ship had to be booked and each had long queues. For instance, the queue for the rock climbing wall was an hour long.
She added that guests were only allowed to play with the bumper cars once throughout the whole trip and that there's a 10-minute time limit in the pool.
In her caption in her second video wrote: "You get (a) suntan while waiting for your turn to get into the pool."
In addition, Ling went on about how there were no movies screened at the poolside cinema.
Some commenters on TikTok were glad they saw the video before booking their trips.
One added: "Love the honest review, gives me another perspective. I was still considering going before I watched your video."
Another commenter said that the activities on the cruise were not elderly-friendly because elderly guests might not be quick enough or tech-savvy enough to book them in advance. To this, Ling said that she agreed, and let on that "a lot of the elderly on cruise [looked] quite lost".
Others, however, didn't agree with Ling's review.
One said that she should have booked and planned her trip beforehand to be able to experience all the activities. However, Ling countered by saying that many of the slots for the popular activities were snapped up by guests who checked in early.
Another commenter said that the delays could be attributed to the increased demand for cruises during the school holiday period.
Not all bad
Ling made another TikTok video yesterday (Nov. 17) addressing "those who complain say I (was) negative".
In a snarky comeback at commenters on TikTok, she decided to feature "Awesome sh** about Royal Caribbean that everyone talks about."
In the video, she showed the highlights of her trip like her indoor flying experience, free-flow food, an art auction, onboard arcade, a performance, and a robot bartender.
Response from Royal Caribbean
Royal Caribbean did not directly address the issues raised by Ling when approached by Mothership.
However, it said that in line with regulations stipulated by the Singapore government, it has implemented health and safety protocols onboard all sailings.
These protocols include sailing at reduced capacities, ensuring social distancing protocols are adhered to at all times, and stringent disinfecting efforts, with deep sanitation between sailings, and daily disinfection of corridors and frequently-touched public areas.
It also highlighted that ratings from its guest satisfaction survey have improved by 20 per cent compared to pre-Covid-19 times, indicating that "Singapore residents recognise that our crew onboard are doing their best to deliver a great experience, within the constraints of the safe management measures we have to abide by".
"Cruising with Royal Caribbean has been a safe, adventure-filled getaway for our guests, even amidst evolving local regulations, and we have seen many guests return again and again," said Royal Caribbean.
It added that it is continually looking at ways to improve the overall guest experience. For instance, over the past month, Royal Caribbean has been working on simplifying the check-in and pre-cruise testing process.
From Dec. 2, guests will be informed to complete their pre-cruise ART at Raffles City Shopping Centre before making their way to Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore to board the ship.
It explained that Raffles City is centrally located, air-conditioned, easy to access and provides a larger space to facilitate the testing. This way, guests can get swabbed quickly and receive their results via SMS.
Upon arrival at the Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore, guests will be able to breeze through the check-in process and make their way onboard the Quantum of the Seas to start their holiday.
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Top image via Yvonne Isabelle Ling/TikTok.